Hyperplasia and squamous metaplasia of the prostatic epithelium are conditions induced by oestrogens. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) has been banned from cattle used for beef production because of the health risks. The potential use of molecular markers for the detection of illegal oestrogen administration was evaluated by taking samples of prostatic tissue from control bullocks, bullocks which had been treated with oestrogens, and bullocks sacrificed 21 and 90 days after a single dose of DES. The expression of the glycoconjugates was examined by lectinhistochemistry and the lectin binding pattern was characterised in epithelium and connective tissue. In the animals sacrificed after 21 days there was an increase in the binding of one lectin (JAc) and there was an increase in the binding of one of the other lectins (DBA) in the animals sacrificed after 90 days. An increase in SWGA lectin staining was observed in the bullocks that had probably been treated with oestrogen and in the animals sacrificed 90 days after the inoculation with DES. There were also differences between the binding of SWGA in the control bullocks and the other groups.
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